* Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
* Combine 4 tablespoons of the butter with the cup of sugar and a tablespoon of water in a 10- or 12-inch nonstick ovenproof frying pan, and turn the heat to medium.
* Cook, shaking the pan occasionally but do not stir, until the sugar melts into the butter and the mixture bubbles.
* Turn off the heat and add the apples in layers
* About halfway through, dot with some of the remaining butter and sugar. Use the remaining butter and sugar on top of the last layer, along with the cinnamon if you like.
* Put in the oven.
* Bake until the apples give up their liquid and it evaporates and the sides of the mass are dark brown and sticky looking. This will take around 45 minutes, but it could be considerably longer or shorter depending on the water content of your apples.
* Remove and let cool.
* Serve straight from the pan